Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cowboy Slang

So I'm working on this story set "out west" with coyotes, stage coaches, and cowdogs. As I was browsing the library shelves yesterday for some writing books, I found The Cowboy Dictionary by Ramon F. Adams. It's got a pretty awesome subtitle: "The Chin Jaw Words and Whing-Ding Ways of the American West." Being from Colorada' I understand the west, and while I love the steadiness and calm of the Midwest, I do get a hankerin' for bein' out west where (at least in the movies) no one pronounces their r's. But seriously, back to the Cowboy Dictionary. I thought I'd add some words over the next few days to give y'all a taste of some cowboy lingo.

"airin' the lungs" - "What the cowboy calls 'cussin' which seems to be a natural part of his language (p. 4)

"all horns and rattles" - "said of someone displaying a fit of temper. A man in his mood, as one cowboy said, 'maybe don't say nothin', but it ain't safe to ask questions.'" (p. 5)

"ankle express" - "The feet. To walk." (p. 6)

While y'all are at it, you might enjoy this site.


  1. How about a story about a cowpoke who moseys on over to the benzinery to wet his whistle.

  2. Jacqui11:03 AM

    OK, Julie Stiegemeye' ;-)